Thursday, November 30, 2023

Satya Column: Can Jagan specify when MoUs of GIS would be reality?

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Andhra Pradesh, which has a 974-km-long coastline from Ichchapuram to Sullurpet, is richly endowed with natural resources. Two longest rivers after the Ganges – the River Godavari and the River Krishna, flow across the state. Several rivers and their tributaries numbering about 25, including the Penna River, Nagavali and Vamsadhara, flow across the state. In fact, 21. 58% of the geographical area of the state is covered with forests. It is well connected to the rest of the country by means of highways, railways, ports, and airways. There is no dearth of mineral resources required for industrial development. It has four airports, four seaports, and three industrial corridors. The youth of the state are enthusiastic, sensitized, and have the capacity for hard work. Still, Andhra Pradesh has not registered significant progress over the past four years under the rule of Jaganmohan Reddy, though he is the youngest Chief Minister. Jaganmohan Reddy, by cancelling PPAs and implementing reverse tendering policy, has sent wrong message to prospective industrialists who wanted to invest in AP. The state has put on hold the construction of the state capital at Amaravati.

Under Jagan, who got entangled in money laundering cases worth several thousands of crores of rupees by introducing the quid pro quo system, industrialists have not shown genuine interest to make investments in AP. The dubious distinction of diverting funds meant for development and employment generation for giving freebies to people and for other purposes goes to the Jaganmohan Reddy government.

The financial situation in AP, which had borrowed funds to the tune of Rs 5 lakh crore, is being discussed at the national level. The state government is finding it difficult to pay even salaries to government servants. Due to the lack of infrastructure like proper roads and in view of the deteriorating law and order situation no notable industry has been set up in AP over the last four years. There was a flight of investments worth several lakhs of crores of rupees to other states. Contractors are not coming forward even to undertake repairs to roads as the government had defaulted on payment of their bills. AP lags behind Bihar in promoting startups.

Jagan embarked on the Global Investors Summit as the elections are round the corner. No overseas industrialists took part in the Global Investors Summit held in Visakhapatnam on March 3 and 4. How can it be called a ‘global’ summit? The state government need not be happy at the mere attendance of industrialists like Ambani, Adani and GMR.

Investments announced by the Reliance Group of Ambanis in the natural gas sector and Jio are not new. Similarly, the Adani Group announced to launch a 3,700 MW of green energy production facility in AP in the past spending Rs 15,376 crore but did not spend even 1% of the amount. The data center which it announced is not a new one. The airport under construction by the GMR at Bhogapuram is facing many hurdles.

Green energy projects announced by the Aurobindo Group, Indosol, Shirdi Sai and some other companies are described as pocket organisations of Jaganmohan Reddy. The MoUs touted to be reached with the NTPC worth Rs 2,35,000 crore are not new. The government is boasting that it has reached MoUs worth Rs 13 lakh crore. Can at least Jaganmohan Reddy specify when the MoUs would be a reality?

The Jagan government should learn how to conduct Global Investors’ Summit from the UP government. While AP has failed to receive foreign investment proposals, the UP government, at the summit held in UP on Feb 12 and 13, attracted proposals from overseas firms in 40 countries to invest Rs 34 lakh crore. The response is attributed to the UP government organizing road shows in 16 countries. The total investment proposals it received were worth Rs 7.12 lakh crore.

The proposals the AP government received do not pertain to the production sector, but are limited to green energy development, resorts, hotels and so on. These are not helpful in generating employment. The UP government had attracted proposals in housing sector, health, food products, dairy development, reproductive energy, electronics, industrial parks, higher education, productivity sector, warehouses, IT, tourism sector and so on. The number of proposals received to promote MSME units is put at 16,960. This sector is getting huge support as the Yogi Adityanath government has been successful in promoting 94 lakh such units over the past six years. The proposals that UP received would generate 94 lakh jobs, including 15.49 lakh from the industrial production sector.

Over 19000 investment proposals have been signed to promote balanced development in Bundelkhand, western UP, central UP, eastern UP and other parts of the state. It is pertinent to note that 42 per cent of the total investments pertained to the development of backward regions of Purvanchal and Bundelkhand. Several industrialists belonging to Telugu states have migrated to UP to invest their funds there. It should serve as an eye-opener to leaders of AP leaders. The Modi-led government at the Centre and the Yogi-led government in UP stand as a testimony to true double-engine sarkar.

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